Gaza splits the Netherlands down the middle

Gaza splits the Netherlands down the middle

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A nationwide poll has shown that the Dutch are divided over the Gaza conflict.

Pollster Maurice de Hond says on his website that 33 percent hold Hamas accountable for the escalation of the conflict, 24 percent blame Israel, and 36 percent say both are equally responsible.

GazaWhen compared to the political background that the respondents supplied, Israel is mostly blamed by supporters of leftist parties such as the Socialist Party and Green Left. The blame is put on Hamas by supporters of centre-right and populist rightwing parties, including the governing Christian Democrats and Christian Union.

The poll also asked whether Israel's action is proportional to the Hamas rocket attacks. According to 45 percent of respondents, Israel's attempt to end Hamas' attacks, though understandable and justified, is disproportionate. Just over a quarter say the action is fully justified, and one-fifth say Israel brought the rocket attacks on itself.

Photo © Amir Farshad Ebrahimi
 Samera Baalusha (34) (right) sits with her daughter Eman (15) and surviving son Mohamad (15 months) while waiting to see the body of her 4-year-old daughter Jawaher Baalusha during the funeral held for Jawher and her four other sisters who were all killed in an Israeli missile strike, on December 29, 2008 in the Jebaliya refugee camp, in the northern Gaza Strip. Photo © Amir Farshad Ebrahimi

Dutch response

The Dutch cabinet's position is that there is no need for sanctions against Israel over its military action in the Gaza Strip. This view is supported by 48 percent and considered too mild by 44 percent.

On Friday the lower house of the Dutch parliament is holding an extra session to discuss the situation in Gaza and the reaction of Prime Minister Jan Peter Balkenende's coalition cabinet to it. A number of leftwing parties want to question Foreign Minister Maxime Verhagen on his position, which some say is too strongly in favour of Israel. Many MPs agree that the cabinet should condemn the level of violence.

Photo © Amir Farshad Ebrahimi
Previous page photo: Smoke rises above Gaza after another Israeli air strike on a Hamas target, December 29, 2008 along Israel's side of the Gaza border.
Photo © Amir Farshad Ebrahimi


Protest demonstrations
Supporters of Israel are demonstrating on Friday outside parliament in The Hague. They say they want to show that there is support for Israel's right to defend its territory and its citizens against attacks.

Six people were arrested on Thursday evening during a pro-Palestinian demonstration in the centre of Utrecht, one of the Netherlands' major cities. They were apprehended for threatening behaviour and for refusing to follow police orders.

Utrecht police said about 300 people, mainly youths of Moroccan origin, assembled near the city's main shopping centre. The shops were open late, and the streets were busy.

Photo © blhphotography

 Crescent hauling away bodies while a crowd watches from the rubble. gaza city.

Photo © blhphotography

The protesters carried flags, made a lot of noise and chanted anti-Israeli and anti-Semitic slogans. Police described the atmosphere as tense.

10 January 2009

Rob Kievit

Radio Netherlands

Photo credit: Amir Farshad Ebrahimi; blhphotography

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